By Kendra Hennis
The Champaign County regional planning commission office has opened a new workforce development program office in Douglas County. The office is located at 401 S. Main Street in Tuscola. The office is open every Monday from 8:30 to 12:30 p.m. and every Wednesday from 1 to 5 p.m.
The workforce development program links people to the education and training resources that they need to earn degrees so and other credentials so that they can excel in many of today’s top industries and occupation, such as Healthcare, Information Technology, Construction and Skilled Trades, Transportation and Logistics, and Manufacturing.
Some of the services available to Douglas County residents are orientations, a job search resource room, job fairs, individualized assistance and career assessment, grants and scholarships, and job club. There are also a variety of programs available to youth between the ages of 14 to 24 such as career planning, skill training, on-the-job training, and resume and interview training.
The RPC’s Workforce Development program administers the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA). The program assists clients with job search resources while providing specific education and training opportunities for low-income, unemployed, and dislocated workers. The Douglas County office is staffed by Justin Price, who lived in Douglas County for over five years and has been with the Workforce Development program for over a year.
Price credits some hardships he once faced as the driving force behind his career focus on helping others. Price said, “Helping low-income individuals through training and seeing them succeed is not only very rewarding, but it is also a constant reminder that I was once there myself. I know how it feels to be stuck between body and mind. I know there are probably hundreds of individuals in Douglas County who have the desire to better themselves. There are individuals who dream about living more comfortably and quite often envision themselves doing something that they love for a career. Many people just require a much-needed boost when they are down. When a person has the support from people who genuinely care about their success, the necessary resources to achieve a goal, and a crystal-clear plan of action, the ambitious mindset that has remained idle for so long in them finally becomes the actual fuel that drives the person to take action. It’s a beautiful thing to witness and it is proof that providing someone with a hand up is far more beneficial than providing them with a hand out. That’s what I hope I can provide to the citizens of Douglas County.”
Price brings knowledge of the community and is skilled at working with job seekers on their path to a rewarding career. He can be reached by phone at 217-599-1426. The RPC maintains additional Workforce Development offices in Champaign, Ford, Iroquois and Piatt Counties.